Friends of Duff House

Friends of Duff House Winter Talks 2014-15

Talks take place on Thursday afternoons at 2pm in the Long Gallery of Duff House. The talk normally extends for 45-50 minutes followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience.

An admission charge of £4.40 will be payable at the Duff House shop. Members of Friends of Duff House are eligible for free admission to the talk. Members of Historic Scotland are eligible for free admission to the talk and the House. Free access to the shop and tea room is available to all visitors. Lift Access to the Long Gallery is available on request in the shop.


9th October 

Charles J. Burnett, K St J, M Litt, FSA (Scot)

‘An Historic Walk through Banff’

Victorian photographs recording the appearance of the Royal Burgh of Banff during the second half of the nineteenth century –take a step back in time.

16th October

Charles J. Burnett, K St J, M Litt, FSA (Scot)

‘Identification of Property’

From a very early period, coats of arms were used to identify property because each coat of arms is unique. This talk covers architecture, painting, silver and gold, ceramics and furniture.

23rd October                                          

Julian Watson, FSA (Scot)

Chairman, Banff Preservation and Heritage Society

‘Smuggling in Banff’

Way up in this far corner of Scotland one finds a fascinating Georgian Town on the coast. The Victorians have left us a very respectable history, but all is not as it appears. Where did all this money come from in the 1700s to build so many fine buildings, including Duff House?  A wee Burgh with its own silver smiths and their own silver mark of Banff –  the Golden Era of the Burgh of Banff

 30th October                        

George Rutten 

Public Health Co-ordinator (Banff & Buchan)

‘Ageing  well’.

A discussion around growing old in North Aberdeenshire and the contribution of people in later life to their local communities.

6th November                                        

Gordon Casely, C St J, FRSA, FSA (Scot) 


‘Railways of Aberdeenshire-the way we were’.

This is a collection of slides built up the speaker from nearly half-a-century ago, when as a young reporter, he stravaiged north-east Scotland, and out of interest, while on duty, took pictures of what then made up the landscape – towns, villages, farms, industries, coast, castles, hills…and of course railways. This illustrated lecture now shows what we looked like then and the place that railways took in the way we lived.

(Health warning: if there are any loco-spotters, number-baggers and rivet-counters out there intent on attending, then you’re going to be disappointed – for this lecture is an entirely anorak-free zone).

13th November 

Roger Goodyear, DL

Chairman, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

‘Portsoy’s Scottish Traditional Boat Festival – from an annual local event to a full scale social enterprise’.

2014 saw the 21st celebration of Portsoy’s Boat Festival, now well established on the national calendar and enjoyed by some 16,000 visitors each year.

However it was some eight years ago that the organising committee decided to take tentative steps towards becoming a rather different organisation. Starting with music and boat building for youngsters, the organisation has developed to include ownership and operation of the Salmon Bothy, management of the Portsoy Caravan Park and now the creation of the Boatshed by the harbour.

The presentation will tell the story of how this all happened – and about further developments now in the pipeline.

20th November 

Gordon Hay

‘A Doric Approach to King James’

This talk is on the background to Mr Hay’s project of translating the Bible into Doric. It will include a brief history of the Bible in English and Scots, some information on how he came to embark on the project and some of the difficulties encountered. The talk will be interspersed with readings from the translation.

27th November                                                       

Birgitte H. Morison

 Painter and Gullologist


The private lives and social interactions of the Banff Low Street roof-top gull population based on observations since 2006 and continuing….

If, like me, you look at gulls, then by and by you become a gullologist, you know their languages & songs & loves & irritations. After 1400 pages of notes and 4000 illustrations you are struck by the gulls’ extraordinary everyday similarity to us, the people, who live in the houses below the roofs, below the gulls.

An illustrated lecture with vignettes of gull behaviours and plumages

 7th December                     

Zillah Jamieson

Co-ordinator, Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership

‘Banffshire Coast Tourism’

The Banffshire Coast is on the map: a perspective on how the promotion of tourism in the Banffshire Coast area has changed dramatically over recent years, with increased promotion, greater profile and area collaboration


22nd January       

David Watson Hood


“Tables of Unspoken Dreams”, a Scottish artist’s explorations in the language and aesthetics of Chinese scholars’ objects and literati painting

A project that was funded by the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Craft Makers Award Scheme, 2012

29th January

Birgitte H. Morison



What the world looks like from inside a synaesthetic’s head. Where the sound of a fire-engine leaves a long silken trail of blinding blues and yellows across the landscape. Where names and numbers must be de-coded from strings of blobs of colour – and where we strive to actually listen to what folks are saying instead of just watching and marvelling at the shapes and colours billowing from their mouths like ectoplasm. – The advantages of this extra sensing as well as the disadvantages


5th February        

John Norris

‘The Ancient Egypt of a Layman’

A look at some aspects of the Life, Death and Literature of this fascinating ancient civilisation

12th February

Rachel Kennedy, MA

Duff House manager (2005-2013), now working freelance and running a business called Curtiss & Clementine selling antiques, vintage and collectables.

‘Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’

Join us for a special Valentine’s talk when we take a glimpse into the private lives of the Duff family and their circle. An illustrated talk on the history of love through the ages, focussing on Duff House and it’s fascinating history.

19th February                       

Katy Rewston

Wildlife Artist

‘The Natural World of Scotland and Wildlife Art’

This talk will cover an artistic journey from reference gathering in the wild to finished painting from the artist’s time living in the North East. It will include slides taken from her nature trips to gather her references followed by a talk about the paintings themselves.

26th February                                         

Peter Johnston

Retired Inverness solicitor- and other things

‘Culloden House, the almost Adam house – a history and reflections on its origins and subsequent history.’

Culloden House, Inverness, in its present form, is the result of a makeover of an existing building, carried out in the 1770s on the instructions of its owner, Duncan Forbes of Culloden. For the next two hundred years, it was occupied as a residence. Two centuries later, it had an internal makeover on the instructions of its then owner, Bill Dixon, when it was turned into an hotel. This talk will look at some of the history of the building, its Adamesque features and some of the whimsy of its life.

5th March             

Alison Simpson. MA


‘Contemporary Paper Art in Scotland’

A talk about paper artists working in Scotland today, ranged over disciplines of printmaking, sculpture and socially engaged practice. A discussion of historically significant materials and traditional craft skills which are developing new relevance for Scotland’s culture in the 21st century.

12th March          

John Crawford.

‘Toonsfowk, Fermers and Fisherfolk at War’

The Great War of 1914 – 1918 was fought throughout the world and when it was finished countless lives from nations across the world and our own United Kingdom.

Although the World War I on the Western Front tends to take precedence in most people’s minds, the sacrifices made by men who served at sea can be considered no less.

This, along with many direct references to men and women from the North East who served in Flanders fields – ordinary people who by their brave actions underline the significant part played in the War by the people from this area – justifies the title – “Toonsfowk, Fermers and Fisherfolk at War.

19th March                            

 Gordon Casely, C St J, FRSA, FSA (Scot) 


‘Simple Heraldry – Cheerfully Illustrated’.

This is a 45 minute presentation introducing how coats of arms decorate, inform, educate and identify The speaker, Gordon Casely is a lifelong promoter of heraldry in modern context, and his well illustrated talk is guaranteed to be an entirely jargon- free zone.

26th March                            

Janet McLeman

Retired  educationalist, writer ,reader,  naturalist

‘Kirkyards of the North East’.

The older burial grounds of the North East of Scotland contain a diverse range of tombstones ranging from ornate memorials of the wealthy lairds to the simply inscribed grave slabs of our humbler ancestors. Each graveyard reflects the character of the community it served and indicates how it evolved and related to the wider world. They provide a rich resource for the local historian giving an insight into how our ancestors saw themselves, how they wished to be remembered and what they considered to be important.

Leave a Reply